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Asana: A Modern Way to Improve Teamwork

Asana: A Modern Way to Improve Teamwork
    Asana's Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein, both of Facebook fame.

    Working as part of a team and staying connected while doing so is a challenge, and there have been few (if any) easy and reasonably-priced software solutions that handle it well. Until today.

    Asana has left beta and is now available to the general public. And it has a lot to offer.

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    This web application keeps teams in sync with what is essentially a shared task list. Here everyone can capture, organize, track, and communicate what they are working on, all with the bigger picture in mind. Skipping email conversations (which is a terrible way to have conversations anyway) and countless meetings to keep a team on track, Asana lets its users move more efficiently and effectively.

    Oh, and Asana is free for teams consisting of 30 people or less. In addition, Asana can be used with as many of these teams as you want.

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    How Asana Works

    By making the task the center of attention in Asana, the way teams look at productivity shifts. The tasks are basically smaller pieces of a much larger set of goals and get assigned to team members and tracked to completion within the web app. Asana allows users to:

    • Capture everything your team is planning and doing in one place. No more jumping from app to app. Everything is collected and lives in Asana.
    • Keep team members in the know. By seeing who is working on what and when, there is a distinction between what is and isn’t important as well as how much more work has to be done to reach the much larger goal.
    • Stay informed. You’ll get essential updates on progress without having to search through old email threads.

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      Why Choose Asana?

      While we’ve yet to put it through the paces here at Stepcase Lifehack — we’ll be doing so over the next 30 days — Asana itself has suggested the following:

      • “It’s ridiculously fast. Thanks to in-house “Luna” technology, Asana is as responsive and lightweight as a text editor. Plus, by obsessively minimizing the number of clicks required to get things done, along with powerful keyboard shortcuts, Asana lets you manage your most important information with ease.”
      • “It’s versatile. Asana is one tool for many uses – from simple to-do lists, to complex projects, and more. It doesn’t force a single workflow, so you can mold it to your own processes and style.”
      • “It’s for the individual, too. Asana is the place to organize your own task list. In doing so, you automatically communicate what you’re prioritizing and everything you’ve done. By being the tool that individuals are using day in and day out, the team as a whole can trust it as the source of truth. We think Asana becomes the best group productivity tool by also being the best personal productivity tool.”

      But don’t just take the company’s word for it. The video below offers the thoughts of some of the early beta testers:

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      Asana may be a new player on a crowded landscape, but with co-founders including Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and early Facebook employee Justin Rosenstein firmly behind it, this very well could be the web app that teams looking to improve their overall productivity have been searching for.

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      Mike Vardy

      A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

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      Last Updated on February 20, 2019

      How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position

      How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position

      Are you stuck in the same position for too long and don’t really know how to get promoted and advance your career?

      Feeling stuck could be caused by a variety of things:

      • Taking a job for the money
      • Staying with an employer that no longer aligns with your values
      • Realizing that you landed yourself in the wrong career
      • Not feeling valued or feeling underutilized
      • Staying in a role too long out of fear
      • Taking a position without a full understanding of the role

      There are many, many other reasons why you may be feeling this way but let’s focus instead on getting unstuck.

      As in – getting promoted.

      So how to get promoted?

      I’m of the opinion that the best way to get promoted is by showing how you add value to your organization.

      Did you make money, save money, improve a process, or some other amazing thing? How else might you demonstrated added value?

      Let’s dive right in how to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current position:

      1. Be a Mentor

      When I supervised students, I used to warm them – tongue in cheek, of course – about getting really good at their job.

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      “Be careful not to get too good at this, or you’ll never get to do anything else?”

      This was my way of pestering them to take on additional challenges or think outside the box, but there is definitely some reality in doing something so well that your manager doesn’t trust anyone else to do it.

      This can get you stuck.

      Jo Miller of Be Leaderly shares this insight on when your boss thinks you’re too valuable in your current job:[1]

      “Think back to a time when you really enjoyed your current role. I bet there was a time when this job was a stretch for you, and you stepped up to the challenge and performed like a rock star. You became known for doing your job so well that you built up some strong “personal brand” equity, and people know you as the go-to-person for this particular job. That’s what we call “a good problem to have”: you did a really good job of building a positive perception about your suitability for the role, but you may have done “too” good of a job!”

      With this in mind, how do you prove to your employer that you can add value by being promoted?

      In Miller’s insight, she talks about building your personal brand and becoming known for doing a particular job well. So how can you link that work with a position or project that will earn you a promotion?

      Consider leveraging your strengths and skills.

      Let’s say that project you do so well is hiring and training new entry level employees. You have to post the job listing, read and review resumes, schedule interviews, making hiring decisions, and create the training schedules. These tasks require skills such as employee relations, onboarding, human resources software, performance management, teamwork, collaboration, customer service, and project management. That’s a serious amount of skills!

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      Is there anyone else on your team who can perform these skills? Try delegating and training some of your staff or colleagues to learn your job. There are a number of reasons why this is a good idea:

      1. Cross-training helps in any situation in the event that there’s an extended illness and the main performer of a certain task is out for a while.
      2. In becoming a mentor to a supervisee or colleague, you empower then to increase their job skills.
      3. You are already beginning to demonstrate that added value to your employer by encouraging your team or peers to learn your job.

      Now that you’ve trained others to do that work for which you have been so valued, you can see about re-requesting that promotion. Be ready to explain how you have saved the company money, encouraged employees to increase their skills, or reinvented that project of yours.

      2. Work on Your Mindset

      Another reason you may feel stuck in a position is well explained by Ashley Stahl in her Forbes article. Shahl talks about mindset, and says:[2]

      “If you feel stuck at a job you used to love, it’s normally you–not the job–who needs to change. The position you got hired for is probably the exact same one you have now. But if you start to dread the work routine, you’re going to focus on the negatives.”

      In this situation, you should pursue a conversation with your supervisor and share your thoughts and feelings. You can probably get some advice on how to rediscover the aspects of that job you enjoyed, and negotiate either some additional duties or a chance to move up.

      Don’t express frustration. Express a desire for more.

      Share with your supervisor that you want to be challenged and you want to move up. You are seeking more responsibility in order to continue moving the company forward. Focus on how you can do that with the skills you have and will develop with some additional projects and coaching.

      3. Improve Your Soft Skills

      When was the last time you put focus and effort into upping your game with those soft skills? I’m talking about those seemingly intangible things that make you the experienced professional in your specific job skills:

      An article on Levo.com suggests that more than 60 percent of employers look at soft skills when making a hiring decision.[3]

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      You can bone up on these skills and increase your chances of promotion by taking courses or seminars.

      And you don’t necessarily need to request funding from your supervisor, either. There are dozens of online courses being presented by entrepreneurs and authors about these very subjects. Udemy and Creative Live both feature online courses at very reasonable prices. And some come with completion certificates for your portfolio!

      Another way to improve your soft skills is by connecting with an employee at your organization who has the position you are seeking.

      Express your desire to move up in the organization, and ask to shadow that person or see if you can sit in on some of her meetings. Offer to take that individual out for coffee and ask what her secret is! Take copious notes and then immerse yourself in the learning.

      The key here is not to copy your new mentor (think Jennifer Jason Leigh in “Single White Female.” Just kidding). Rather, you want to observe, learn and then adapt according to your strengths. And don’t forget to thank that person for their time.

      4. Develop Your Strategy

      Do you even know specifically WHY you want to be promoted anyway? Do you see a future at this company? Do you have a one year, five year, or ten year plan? How often do you consider your “why” and insure that it aligns with your “what?”

      Sit down and do an old-fashioned Pro and Con list. Two columns:

      Pro’s on one side, Con’s on the other.

      Write down every positive aspect of your current job and then every negative one. Which list is longer? Are there any themes present?

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      Look at your lists and choose the most exciting Pro’s and the most frustrating Con’s. Do those two Pro’s make the Con’s worth it? If you can’t answer that question with a “yes” then getting promoted at your current organization may not be what you really want.

      The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain

      Mel Carson writes about this on Goalcast that many other authors and speakers have written about finding your professional purpose.[4]

      Here are some questions to ask yourself:

      • Why is it that you do what you do?
      • What thrills you about your current job role or career?
      • What does a great day look like?
      • What does success look like beyond the paycheck?
      • What does real success feel like for you?
      • How do you want to feel about your impact on the world when you retire?

      These questions would be great to reflect on in a journal or with your supervisor in your next one-on-one meeting. Or, bring it up with one of your Vital Work Friends over coffee.

      See, what you might find is that being stuck is your choice. And you can set yourself on the path of moving up where you are, or moving on to something different.

      Because sometimes the real promotion is finding your life’s purpose. And like Mastercard says, that’s Priceless.

      More Resources About Career Advancement

      Featured photo credit: Razvan Chisu via unsplash.com

      Reference

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